The 2006 Grand Vitara I bought a few years back and have modified a bit (here) is a great car to go touring in with a small family.
As you can see it was fully loaded for our trip to Bremer Bay and you could not really tell any difference in power with all that weight. A fully loaded trailer, boot and all our clothing and sleeping gear on top was no real issue.
We love to go down the beach fishing and 4 wheel driving with our friends. The Zook loves the sand, tackling the boggy stuff and some inclines with no issues.
I locked it into 4wd Low after watching my friends Landcruisers take a couple of attempts to get over a dune we had to go over. It was no issue with the right run up and understanding that this was a boggy incline.
The Side Awning is okay. We put it up on a really still day and it certainly keeps the sun off you. Its just a pity it is not more robust and well designed.